Reasoning that it could reduce energy costs for electric lighting, the company's slogan pitched its services as 'daylight all night long.'"
-the illumination might be helpful during law-enforcement and anti-terrorist campaigns;
-the light from space can also help during special construction projects and other industrial activities"The plan was to first test a 65-foot mirror (Znamya 2), then a 82-foot version (Znamya 2.5), finalize the test phase with a 230-foot mirror (Znamya 3), and, eventually launch a permanent 656-foot space mirror installation that would be capable of fully turning early night in Russian cities into something close to full-blown day."Russians to Test Space Mirror As Giant Night Light for Earth," the aptly titled Times story announced. It continues: "If it can be done, proponents say, providing sunshine at night could save billions of dollars each year in electrical lighting costs, extend twilight hours during planting and harvesting seasons to aid farmers, allow more working hours on large construction projects and help in rescue and recovery operations after natural disasters like earthquakes and hurricanes." The only thing to be lost was some sleep.
That challenge requires substantial funding, however. Near the end of the document is an impassioned call for investors: "Actually we are considering the possibilities to repeat the Znamya-2.5 experiment, and as well as prepare and carry out the Znamya-3 experiment with the 70-meter reflector within the framework of the scheduled experimental program," he says."But only enthusiasm is not enough. The funding of the Znamya-2.5 experiment was extremely tight… For lack of government finances to support scientific researches we hope to find home and foreign sponsors. This is one of the way the development process of solar sail spacecraft, space illumination system and as well as other high technologies could be speeded up." (Even here, at the end he can't help but plug the solar sails that birthed the ill-fated enterprise.)It's impossible to say how much the Znamya actually ended up costing in total—the Times reported that the Znamya 2 likely cost $10 million for the hardware alone, discounting launch costs—but Syromyatnikov was asking for over $100 million for the larger Znamya 3. He projected that ultimately, the permanent series of daylight-regulating reflectors that the Znamya experiments were leading up to would cost over $340 million to build, launch and operate. He claimed nonetheless that the perma-Znamya would be profitable in just two to three years, due to reduced lighting costs in big cities and the disaster response services it would provide.
The man who was diligently seeking to physically extend the workday with a giant space mirror wished that he himself never had to sleep.